What to do In the September Garden


Conserve water. Operate sprinkler systems manually, only watering when grass shows signs of distress.

Rain barrel alternative - clever planter idea from Pinterest.


Ornamental plants - Fertilize plants that show signs of deficiencies. Rapid growth and leaching rains may result in nutrient deficiencies in some plants. Inspect plants for insect infestation and disease including mildew. It’s so much easier to nip problems in the bud (literally) than deal with a full-blown problem. If shrubs and perennials have yellowish-green leaves they need nitrogen fertilizer. If leaves are bright yellow around the margins with deep green in the center they are deficient in minor elements. Use organic, slow-release fertilizers for best results. See: Fertilization and Irrigation Needs for Florida Lawns and Landscapes (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep110)

Seasonal Plants - Give poinsettias their final pruning in September, pinching the tip of each shoot to encourage branching. Move potted poinsettias to a sunny location.

Give Christmas cactus a last feeding this month. Move into partial sunshine and reduce watering until buds appear.

Pinch chrysanthemums and spray for aphids, mites, mildew and blackspot. Feed with 10-30-20 or similar high phosphate fertilizer until color shows in the buds. Feed hanging baskets and orchids every two weeks.

Bedding plants - Remove spent blooms, cut back, and fertilize flowering annuals and perennials to extend the bloom season into the fall months. See: Gardening with Annuals in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg319) Gardening with Perennials in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg035)

Perennials and bulbs - Divide and replant perennials and bulbs that have grown too large or need rejuvenation. Add organic matter to new planting areas and monitor water needs during establishment. See: Propagation of Landscape Plants (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg108)

Citrus - Fertilize citrus with a balanced fertilizer in October. If the weather has been rainy, do not use soluble nitrogen as rains will leach it from the soil too quickly. See: Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs132)

Lawn problems - Continue to monitor the lawn for signs of insect damage. Fall army worms, chinch bugs, mole crickets, and sod webworms are still active this month. See: Insect Management in Your Florida Lawn (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh034)

Irrigation Check that irrigation systems are providing good coverage and operating properly before summerrains taper off. See: How to Calibrate your Sprinkler System (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh026)

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